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Thursday, September 1, 2016

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Sunrise Calendar lives to see another day as Microsoft postpones shutdown

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 01:49 PM PDT


The popular calendar app Sunrise was supposed to shut down permanently yesterday, but that didn't happen. Microsoft now says it has decided to hold off on killing Sunrise while it works to integrate more Sunrise features into the Outlook app. That doesn't mean Sunrise is alive and well, but it's not dead at least.

Microsoft bought Sunrise in early 2015, which sent a shiver up the spine of Sunrise's fans.

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Sunrise Calendar lives to see another day as Microsoft postpones shutdown was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Instagram photo zoom is starting to roll out on Android

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 12:03 PM PDT


Pinch-to-zoom has existed in photo-centric apps for years. However, not in Instagram. Yes, perhaps the most popular photo sharing community that has ever existed does not have support for zooming in on photos, but that won't be the case for much longer. Pinch-to-zoom is coming to Android soon, and some of you might already have it.

According to Instagram's announcement post, zooming is available today in the iOS app and it will be available on Android in a few weeks.

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Instagram photo zoom is starting to roll out on Android was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Snapseed version 2.9 gets new tools for faces, perspective, white balance, and compression

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 11:34 AM PDT

2016-09-01 18Google bought photo editor Snapseed a little less than four years ago, and the developers have been steadily improving the app and adding new features since then. The latest version is 2.9, which started rolling out to new users yesterday and just hit the publicly-accessible Play Store a few hours ago. There's nothing mind-blowing in the updated version, but a handful of new features will make long-time users happy (and might get rid of one of the other photo apps you rely concurrently).

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Snapseed version 2.9 gets new tools for faces, perspective, white balance, and compression was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Samsung could announce a Galaxy Note 7 recall next week

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 11:02 AM PDT

The Galaxy Note 7 saw praise rain down upon it after its launch in August, but the company may be forced to recall its popular handset as early as next week.

According to a report from Yonhap News Agency that cites an unnamed Samsung official, Samsung is preparing to announce a formal recall of the Galaxy Note 7, both in South Korea and in markets around the globe. The report states that the cause of the recall are earlier reports that some Galaxy Note 7 units are exploding while charging.

These reports of exploding Galaxy Note 7 units have caused Samsung to dig in with an in-depth investigation, which Samsung says it will not keep secret after it finishes. So far, though, the report states that Samsung has discovered it is a faulty battery that is causing some units to explode while being charged. According to the official, the faulty battery is installed in less than 0.1 percent of the entire volume that has been sold to date.

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 explosion 1

Still, Samsung is apparently still moving forward with a formal recall as early as next week. This follows a report from the end of August that said Samsung was already delaying shipments of the Galaxy Note 7 in some markets. It is unlikely the announcement will be made on Friday, however, as the report indicates Samsung is currently working with dealers like Verizon Wireless in the U.S. to reach a solution. The announcement could be made as early as Monday of next week.

Your Galaxy Note 7 hasn't blown up, right?

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Facebook rolls out Instant Video for Messenger

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 11:02 AM PDT

While Facebook Messenger started with just text, it has quickly expanded to use a variety of different conversation methods, like stickers and GIFs. Video is just another element to be added to the mix.

Facebook has officially announced a new video initiative baked right into the latest version of Facebook Messenger. It's called Instant Video, and as the name suggests, it's a quick and easy way to get live streaming video right in your text/sticker/GIF conversation in Messenger.The video can be one-sided, too, with the other person in the conversation not being forced into launching their own video stream if they don't want to.

Launching Instant Video means selecting the video icon when both users are looking at an active Messenger conversation. When the user selects this icon, there will be a video window that opens that shows a live stream of what that person wants to show. Audio is deactivated automatically, but the user can turn it on if they want. The video will float over the active text conversation. If the other person in the conversation does want to activate video, they can do so in the same way.

Instant Video is now available in the latest version of Messenger for both iOS and Android users.

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Huawei announces the Nova and Nova Plus

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 11:02 AM PDT

Announcements are happening left and right at IFA 2016, and now Huawei has jumped in on the action by officially debuting two new handsets.

First up from Huawei is the Nova which, as many will notice immediately, shares a similar design as the Nexus 6P. There are a few key changes with the Nova, though. That includes a smaller 5-inch 1080p HD display, down from the Nexus 6P's 5.7-inch display. Under the Nova's hood, there's an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625 processor along with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. The Nova is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow underneath Huawei's proprietary EMUI 4.1 UI.

The Huawei Nova also features a battery measured in at 3020mAh, and there's a microSD card slot for expandable storage. There's a fingerprint sensor on the back and a USB Type-C port on the bottom. Finally, there's a 12-megapixel camera on the back, which can record 4K video, and there's an 8-megapixel front-facing camera on the other side.


The other new addition is the Nova Plus, which offers a bigger screen than the Nova. The Nova Plus's display measures in at 5.5 inches, and it's a 1080p HD panel. Another key difference is the 16MP camera on the back (there's still an 8MP front-facing camera). The Nova Plus still features 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage, as well as a microSD card slot for expandable storage. It's running Android 6.0 under EMUI 4.1, there's a fingerprint sensor on the back, USB Type-C, and the same octa-core Snapdragon 625 processor.

Huawei has confirmed that both handsets will launch in October, and they'll be available in Titanium Grey, Prestige Gold, and Mystic Silver. The Nova will cost €399 (about $446), while the Nova Plus will retail for €429 (about $480).

What do you think of Huawei's newest devices?

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Facebook Messenger introduces Instant Video, an answer to Google Duo

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 10:24 AM PDT


In a Google Duo world, do you really want to fire up an old-fashioned video chat? Facebook figures your answer is 'prolly not,' so it's simplifying the experience inside of Messenger. This change is called Instant Video.

Facebook Messenger's new approach to video calls doesn't do away with the video calling icon. But now when you tap it at the top corner of an active conversation, you start sharing video instantly, and audio is off by default.

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Facebook Messenger introduces Instant Video, an answer to Google Duo was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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The Power Of “Early Access”

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 10:14 AM PDT

By Karolis Balciunas, VC & Startups Business Development Manager, Google Play

If you have ever launched a mobile app, you know full well that launching your app into the world successfully requires more than publishing it and hoping for the best.

It's the diligent testing, constant user feedback loop and incremental tweaks leading up to that special launch moment that truly count.

The Google Play Developer Console gives developers robust tools to do beta tests or experiment with how they market their apps to users through the Play store listing. Getting this critical early feedback from users requires just that — users. And as a developer working on a new product that isn't fully launched yet, how do you find people to try your new app and take the time to give you feedback?

1 Million Tester Installs And Counting

At Google I/O in May, we unveiled a new destination on Google Play to address this dilemma head on. Together with 29 app and game partners, we launched an "Early Access" collection that made select new Android titles that are running an open beta available for anyone to try before they officially launch. It was an immediate hit. Early-adopter users were eager and willing to send developers actionable, private feedback in exchange for an opportunity to get their hands onto the latest exciting apps and games. Most importantly, the feedback was objective and candid as it did not come from their friends and family who are often afraid to hurt their feelings. In just over a month since the collection became available to all users, open beta titles have been installed over 1 million times and demand is only growing.

3 Powerful Stories

Our launch partners experienced the power of Early Access in various ways. Peer-based language practice developer Lingbe was eager to validate the concept of their app connecting natives with language learners via voice conversations, which meant they needed to connect with a critical mass of possible users around the world from different language and cultural backgrounds. In just a few weeks, "the surge in users in addition to our current fan base meant that we've had Brazilians practicing with Spanish users and talking about their hobby in photography, Mexicans making friends with people from India, and Filipinos talking to Moroccans!"

Readfeed, one of the first online book clubs on Android, relied on Early Access to solicit feature requests, identify bugs, locate new and optimize existing target markets as well as build a sizable reader community. They stated that "early access confirmed that our target market exists and that we have something that they need. I don't think we'd be in the same place right now without it. It enabled us to validate and effectively iterate on our idea from day one."

Finally, Drippler participated in Early Access to test their new "Wiz" app and understand their beta title's appeal to their target demographic. Their performance in the Early Access collection as well as private feedback from thousands of newly acquired beta testers allowed them to polish the app before the launch and gave them confidence that their users will enjoy it."

These three developers' stories show us just a few ways that Early Access can help developers build great new apps and games, and it shows the value of getting early feedback from beta testers before launching more broadly.

Get Involved

If you are a developer getting ready to launch on Google Play, you can nominate your app or game to be part of Early Access. Learn more here.

New titles are added weekly and thousands of users are looking to experiment with new and exciting ideas.

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Genius 2.0 lets you save lyrics for offline, adds slick animations in redesigned song page

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 08:49 AM PDT


Genius, which started out as Rap Genius, is a cool Android app for music lovers who want to not just discover the lyrics to their favorite songs, but also the stories and trivia behind them. With version 2.0, the app is getting a couple of nifty new features, none more important than the slick animation on the redesigned song page.

Feast your eyes:


You bet that our own Liam likes it

The song page also now shows a full bleed song header that is part of the animation.

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Genius 2.0 lets you save lyrics for offline, adds slick animations in redesigned song page was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Sony Xperia XZ flagship and Xperia X Compact now official

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 08:23 AM PDT

Sony's Xperia X family debuted not too long ago, and now it's got a couple of new additions to show off.

At this year's IFA 2016, Sony officially unveiled the Xperia XZ, a brand new flagship handset that offers plenty of specs. The Xperia XZ offers a 5.2-inch 1080p HD display with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor under the hood. The Xperia XZ also offers 3GB of RAM and 32GB of storage in the single SIM variant or 64GB with the dual-SIM model. There is a miroSD card slot for expandable storage.

The main draw of the Xperia XZ, like many Sony-branded flagships, is the camera. This time around there's a 23-megapixel camera on the back, which Sony confirmed will start up in just 0.6 seconds after the camera is activated with the physical camera button on the side of the handset. Sony also confirmed the XZ uses "triple image sensing technology," which uses the Predictive Hybrid AF in the main sensor to predict and track subjects to remove blur. There is Laser Autofocus to achieve blur-free images in low-light and a RGBC-IR sensor that will adjust white balance. On the front, Sony is offering a 13-megapixel camera.

Finally, the Xperia XZ offers a fingerprint sensor, a USB Type-C port on the bottom, and a battery that measures in at 2900mAh. It will run Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box. Sony says the Xperia XZ is IP68-rated, which makes it dust and water resistant. Sony will launch the Xperia XZ in October around the globe.


And then there's the Xperia X Compact. It offers the same rear camera technology as the Xperia XZ flagship, but there's a 5MP front-facing camera on the other side. The other features include a 4.6-inch 720p HD display and a hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 650 processor inside. The X Compact also offers 32GB of built-in storage, 3GB of RAM, a fingerprint reader and a microSD card slot. There's a USB Type-C port on the bottom, and the battery measures in at 2700mAh.

The Xperia X Compact will be equipped with Android 6.0 Marshmallow when it launches globally in September.

Pricing will be revealed at a later date.

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HTC One A9s offers 5-inch 720p HD display, 13MP camera and more

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 08:23 AM PDT

At the end of August, it was rumored that HTC was gearing up to announce a followup to last year's One A9, and today the company did just that.

The One A9s is now official. While the device looks quite similar to the previous model's design, there are a few key changes, including the lack of an "HTC" logo above the fingerprint reader. The rear camera has also been moved over to the corner of the device. The other changes that HTC has made are focused on the specifications, which should help HTC to lower the cost of the One A9s.

That starts with the 5-inch display, which is now a 720p HD Super LCD panel instead of a 1080p AMOLED display that was present in the original One A9. The 13-megapixel camera on the back has a slower f/2.2 aperture (compared to the One A9′s f/2.0). The rear camera doesn't feature optical image stabilization (OIS), either. There's a 5-megapixel front-facing camera on the other side.


Inside the One A9s, there's a MediaTek Helio P10 octa-core processor, with one variant offering 2GB of RAM with 16GB of built-in storage and another packing 3GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. There's a microSD card slot as well, and the battery is measured in at 2300mAh.

The pricing and launch window isn't known just yet, but HTC should be getting around to announcing that soon enough.

What do you think of the HTC One A9s?

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Top 10 new Android games this week: Dragon Sword, LUMINES

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 07:12 AM PDT

Welcome back to Android Gaming Weekly, our weekly recap of new game releases. We still plan to cover upcoming releases and games we're playing, but this column is dedicated to new games that you can start playing right now. Check out our top picks and let us know in the comments section if you have any suggestions for next week's post.

Dragon Sword

DescriptionJoin Ryu as he embarks on an endless adventure. Journey across the forgotten forest and her native wilderness, through the scorching desert, hidden beaches, freezing tundras, and burning isles. Join him in his valiant quest for the search of the true Dragon Sword that will slay and end chaos and evil.


A Matter of Murder

DescriptionA Matter of Murder is a point-and-click puzzle game with rogue-like elements. The details of each murder are procedurally generated, so each case is different every time you play with progressively more challenging logic puzzles. 


Puzzle And Zombie – Arena

DescriptionMatch the three puzzles to attack the zombies! Or heal! Horizontal, vertical, new ways to move a line! Enjoy match three puzzles in a line that fresh fun! Various characters and skills! It can be combined with various characters with passive, active, and passive block skills!


Con Man: The Game

Description"So you wanna be a comic book convention manager?" asked hardly anyone ever. Well, now's your chance! Enlist Alan Tudyk, Nathan Fillion and the cast of Con Man to help you create the biggest, brightest and bestest con ever: Shock-A-Con! All your favorite management tasks are there: Unclogging toilets! Emptying garbage cans! Even covering up naked grannies!


Apocalypse Max

DescriptionYou, Apocalypse Max, are the lone survivor of this zombie apocalypse. Journey through heart-thumping, adrenaline-pumping action spread out over multiple worlds! Master in-air maneuvers as you find your way around precarious platforms.


MARVEL Tsum Tsum

Description: Marvel Super Heroes, assemble! Team Up and Battle Super Villains with Friends! GAMEPLAY-Just connect three or more of the same Tsum Tsum to erase them. PLAY MODES-There are two modes: Battles and Stages.


FarmVille: Tropic Escape

DescriptionBuild your very own beachside inn complete with island workshops, tropical crops and exotic animals. Grow your farm with pineapples, coconuts and mangos to delight your guests. Craft delicious recipes and rare goods like piƱa coladas, grilled fish and flower leis.


He-Man™ Tappers of Grayskull™

DescriptionBrace yourself for He-Man's most enthralling adventure yet! Fight alongside He-Man and the Masters of the Universe in this glorious tapper adventure RPG! Seek aid from He-Man's allies, the Masters of the Universe, to battle through hordes of Skeletor's MASSIVE army. Hone your powers and unleash mighty abilities to take down his minions. Dig up and collect Eternia's most ancient artifacts that may aid you in the war against evil!



DescriptionA music puzzle game with synchronized music and visuals! We highly recommend playing with headphones or earphones! This is an authentic Music Puzzle Game, a true mix of Dance Music and Puzzle Games. The thrill of racking up high scores combined with the excitement gradually generated by the music and visuals provide the player with an experience like that of a music fest or a live show!


Muhammad Ali: Puzzle King

DescriptionThe official game featuring boxing legend Muhammad Ali, "The Greatest of All Time!" Exciting match-3 game meets fast and furious boxing action in the most exciting puzzle game for mobile phones and tablets.


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Chrome Dev adds a downloads manager and the ability to save a page for offline viewing

Posted: 01 Sep 2016 02:08 AM PDT


On both mobile and desktop, downloading things from the internet is pretty obviously a big deal. Since it launched in 2008, Chrome has had a download manager, and now the Android version is following suit, with a Download menu appearing in the latest version of Chrome Dev, version 54.0.2840.6.

'Downloads' is in the overflow dropdown menu. It's basically exactly what it says it is: a manager for files downloaded through the browser.

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Chrome Dev adds a downloads manager and the ability to save a page for offline viewing was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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ASUS Finally Unveils New ZenWatch 3, Comes With Circular Display

Posted: 31 Aug 2016 09:38 PM PDT


IFA 2016 is now officially underway and ASUS has revealed its newest Android Wear smartwatch, the ZenWatch 3.

The watch is a true spiritual successor to the ZenWatch 2 and right off the bat, the newest feature is its circular display (sans flat-tire). ASUS claims the watch is made from 316L stainless steel, which comes in at three different colours: gunmetal, rose gold and silver. The display is flanked by three buttons which perform their own respective functions.

Specs for the watch include a brand new Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC, 1.4-inch display with a 400 x 400 pixel resolution, IP67 water and dust resistance, 9.95mm thick, 512MB RAM and 4GB of internal storage. As for the battery, ASUS promises two days of use and also includes HyperCharge technology allowing the watch to charge 60% in 15 minutes.

Stay tuned as we hear on Canadian availability.


The post ASUS Finally Unveils New ZenWatch 3, Comes With Circular Display appeared first on Android in Canada Blog.

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21 Best Android Wear Apps And Watch Faces From 6/1/16—8/31/16

Posted: 31 Aug 2016 09:20 PM PDT

ap_resizeYour wrist is looking rather bereft of apps and watch faces, but we can assist with this roundup. Contained herein are all the best things to hit Android Wear in the last couple months. Slap on your watch and get ready to test.

Wear Apps

Rithmio EDGE Beta

Rithmio EDGE is a different kind of workout tracker. It claims to use the sensors in your watch to monitor weightlifting. It uses the data to spit out various charts and graphs to help you lift more heavy stuff.

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21 Best Android Wear Apps And Watch Faces From 6/1/16—8/31/16 was written by the awesome team at Android Police.

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Google OnHub turns one, celebrates with partnership with Philips Hue

Posted: 31 Aug 2016 05:13 PM PDT

Google OnHub was released a whole year ago. If you're unaware, Google partners with manufacturers to create OnHub routers that are made to be as simple and easy to use. There are no complicated menus or setups, just a simple app and powerful, mostly maintenance-free hardware.

To celebrate OnHub's one-year anniversary, Google has partnered with Philips Lighting to allow the control of Philips Hue lights directly from the network. Once on the network, You can go to "On.Here" in your browser and control the lights without any special apps. This means that guests can take control if you allow it. 

Not only is it a neat feature, it means you don't need any apps and can control from any device with a browser. It's definitely a useful addition.

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